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Abstract

Wheat is one of the most important crops in China. This study examines the contributions of wheat germplasm from different sources to wheat total factor productivity (TFP). Based on a unique dataset on planted area, pedigree and agronomic traits by variety for 17 major wheat-growing provinces from the past three decades, the results show that wheat TFP has grown steadily in the past three decades. On average, existing varieties are replaced by new ones in less than four years. Chinese wheat breeders have increasingly used CIMMYT breeding stocks to generate new wheat varieties, with CIMMYT germplasm contributing about 7% of the genetic material in Chinese wheat varieties during the past three decades and about 9% in recent years. More than 26% of all major wheat varieties released in China after 2000 contain CIMMYT germplasm. The use of CIMMYT gemplasm has resulted in an increase in TFP of 5% to 14% in the past three decades, depending on the measurement used. This represents from 3.8 million to 10.7 million tons of added grain. The paper concludes with policy implications for plant breeders and policy makers in China, as well as for international donors.

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